Christmas in Honduras is an Important Family Holiday
Honduras, just as Latin America, has a strong Catholic influence. This is part of the legacy of the Spanish Empire. In recent years, the Catholic Church has lost ground to a variety of Evangelical Churches. But the bottom line fact is that Latin America is Christian. Honduras is no exception to this reality. Even the large Palestianian migration that came to Honduras in the early twentieth Century where Christian.
Because of this, Christmas in Honduras has many traditions. It is one of the most important national holidays. Many families travel to their home towns to celebrate Christmas with their families. It is a time to spend as a family. There are several different peculiarities that take place when celebrating Christmas in Honduras. One of them is a tradition that everyone in the family should have their “estreno” on this day. This means, everyone should have new clothes to wear. This tradition can be interchangeable with New Years Eve. It is a good omen when everyone in the family has an “estreno” to wear.
Honduras celebrates Christmas on the eve of the 24th of December. Although the holiday is on the 25th, the celebration is on the 24th. This Holiday is “sacred”. Transportation companies; including bus companies, local airlines, and even the ferry service between the Islands and La Ceiba stop their services on this day! This is important to take into consideration when arranging your travel plans for Christmas and New Years. Unless you are driving your own car, or have a private driver, you will find it hard to travel on the 25th of December and the 1st of January!
Christmas Dinner in Honduras
One of the important aspects of Christmas in Honduras is preparing the Christmas dinner. The local tradition leans more to preparing pork rather than a turkey. Families with a more modest income will roast a chicken instead of a turkey. Turkey is not the main Christmas dinner menu in Honduras! Large, more affluent families will roast a piglet. Those baked in Santa Rosa de Copan are the most popular. In our case, Soledad, my wife likes to cook a leg of pork. She uses a secret family recipe to prepare a unique sauce that gives it a unique, delicious taste.
Tamales are another important food element in every Christmas meal. These are usually made with pork, and are always wrapped in a banana leaf. The banana leaves provide moisture, making the tamales less dry that the traditional Mexican Tamal wrapped in a corn tusk. Preparing tamales is an art in itself, and requires dedication and commitment.
Check out our video: Making Christmas Tamales in Copan Ruinas.
Dessert usually consists of Rosquillas en Miel or Torrejas. The Rosquillas en miel are small hard crust corn donuts soaked in honey. These are part of the Christmas in Central America tradition. They are popular in El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Torrejas fried egg whites soaked in honey. I skip the dessert and have an extra plate of the delicious leg of pork that Soledad, my lovely wife cooks.
We usually spend Christmas in Copan Ruinas. Soledad is from this lovely town. She has three sisters and one brother that still live there and is thus the best place to meet for a family reunion.
The Traditional Fireworks to Celebrate Christmas in Honduras
Finally, there is another tradition that is most common when celebrating Christmas in Honduras. I find it rather annoying, and it is on the dangerous side. I am referring the tradition of lighting fireworks. You will hear them on and off throughout Christmas Eve. The frequency will increase as midnight arrives. At exactly midnight, you will find that they go crazy. For several minutes, fireworks and firecrackers will take over the show. A cloud of smoke with the stench of gun powder will prevail for a good half hour. The streets are littered with papers used to manufacture the fireworks.
I find that it is a good idea to drive with the windows closed on Christmas Eve. You never know if a random firecracker might fly into your car through the open window. Why Hondurans enjoy this tradition goes beyond my comprehension. The fact is that many children end up with serious burns when manipulating them. Because of this, many municipalities actually prohibit the sale of them within the municipality. In those cases, families will often travel to the neighboring municipality to buy them.
I hope that I have provided useful information to make your Christmas in Honduras pleasant. I trust that you know what you are going to eat. Hopefully you will not panic when the noisy midnight comes along. Merry Christmas, enjoy your holidays in Honduras!